Messenger of the Lord


Chapter 35—Hermeneutics-Part 4: Characteristics Shared by Biblical Writers and Ellen White

“Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” 1 MOL 408.1

In early 1903 Ellen White, burdened about the decline in colporteur work (literature evangelism), wrote an article for the Review. In that article she expressed appreciation for the successful promotion of Christ’s Object Lessons. 2 She also wrote: “Sister White is not the originator of these books.... They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given His servant to be given to the world. From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts of men and women, leading them to the Saviour.” MOL 408.2

Then she amplified this connection between God’s light and her writings, and where her writings, as all other prophetic writings, would lead readers: “The Lord has sent His people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” 3 MOL 408.3

In her larger context, Mrs. White seems to be referring to how all biblical prophets are lesser lights leading their people “to the Saviour” the “Light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46)—even as John the Baptist “came ... to bear witness of the Light” (John 1:7, 8). Because people in her day were giving “little heed ... to the Bible” (which was to lead people to Christ, the Light of the world) the Lord spoke to her as a “lesser light” (even as John the Baptist and all other biblical prophets were lesser lights) to lead people to Christ, the “greater light.” MOL 408.4

From another point of view, no one can question that Ellen White regarded the Bible itself as a “greater light” with its centuries of inspired writings and its gold-standard acceptance as the Word of God. MOL 408.5

Numerous are the references, from her earliest days to her last, that exalted the Bible, such as: “The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His [God’s] will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience.” 4 MOL 408.6

She saw clearly the relationship of her writings to the Bible. They were not only to exalt the Bible, they were to “attract minds to it,” to call “attention to the words of inspiration which you have neglected to obey,” to “impress vividly upon the heart the truths ... already revealed,” “to awaken and impress the mind ... that all may be left without excuse,” “to bring out general principles,” and to “come down to the minutiae of life, keeping the feeble faith from dying.” 5 MOL 408.7